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Feb 12 20, 9:13 pm

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Heart talk: Don’t make it complicated

by | EDITOR’S CHOICE, Feature, TOP STORIES

Feb. 12, 20 | 9:13 pm

Philippine officials and health experts in the UAE advised overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to take good care of their hearts not because February is the season of love, but due to the high number of reported cases of cardiovascular-related deaths.

Heart diseases are among the silent yet deadliest killers for OFWs working in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. In Abu Dhabi, statistics point to 59 out of 87 Filipino residents died due to heart attacks or cardiovascular related diseases, in 2019. This accounts for 68 percent or almost 7 out 10 reported deaths.

Meanwhile, statistics dating from 2018 have shown records pertaining to hypertension having taken around 81 out of 172 OFWs, accounting for 47% of deaths during that year, according to the data from the Philippine Consulate for Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

Officials from the embassy and the consulate, however, clarified that the cardiac arrests weren’t all immediate heart attacks , did not know were cases who have suffered underlying conditions, including high cholesterol levels, inactive lifestyle, poor diet choices, increased stress levels due to multiple factors, and more.

Considering the low number of cases of death compared to almost a million Filipinos living here in the UAE, medical experts said there might be more individuals who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease over time.

Studies have revealed that UAE residents experience the trials of heart attacks in the early median age of 40-50 years old, which is strikingly far than the global average of 65 years of age in the West.

Deadly consequences

Auzie Gonzales, a Dubai-based OFW met her untimely demise due to a heart attack sometime in 2019. Her husband, Rhen in his grief said via a Facebook post how he couldn’t even fathom how to break the sad news to their daughter back then.

“Mag-tatatlong taon mula ng iwan mo kami ng anak mo para makipag sapalaran sa Dubai. Nanginginig buong katawan ko ng malalaman ko na wala kana sa mundo pano ko ipapaliwanag sa anak natin ang nangyari, bata pa si Kendra mi. Di ko alam paano ko sisimulang sabihin na wala na ang mama niya,” said Rhen.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that four out of five deaths stem from diseases accompanied by heart attacks or strokes. WHO statistics (2000-2012) on cardiovascular diseases mortality (age-standardized death rate per 100,000 population) showed that the UAE fell within the bracket of 201-300 deaths, which is higher than western countries like the US which recorded 136 deaths per 100,000 population.

There is hope

One of the major solutions that hospitals have implemented thus far include the Rapid Response System (RRS) that has reportedly decreased mortality rates from 9.96 percent in 2012 to 6.12 percent years later, in 2015.

Like many aspects of advanced medicine, RRS marks a shift from reactive measures. The system includes a multi-disciplinary team consisting of intensive care unit-trained personnel available round the clock every day to evaluate patients who are developing signs or symptoms of clinical deterioration. “RRS can identify aberrations in a person’s vital signs, such as changes in blood pressure and breathing rates. As soon as such signs are detected, the RRS team starts on the treatment, and that few minutes’ head-start can save a person,” said Dr. Murali Krishna, Specialist Interventional Cardiologist at Prime Hospital.

Among the criteria that may trigger an alarm for the RRS include low systolic blood pressure (usually less than 90 mmHg); high or low respiratory rate (e.g., less than 4 breaths/min or more than 30 breaths/min); and abnormal pulse rate (e.g. less than 40 beats/min or more than 140 beats/min). Seizures, airway obstruction and failing consciousness are also triggers for the RRS team.

“To perfoaarm effectively, the RRS team requires the support of the whole hospital. For this, the quality of equipment and systems of a hospital as well as the surgical facilities available are very important,” said Dr. Murali.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

FOLLOW US

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